Medieval Theology

  • Created by: Tamika
  • Created on: 03-01-18 11:29

Why Medieval Theology?

  • This is 1000 years of intellectual history from the death of Augustine to the beginning of the Reformation
  • It is radically theocentric and Trinitatrian
  • Medieval Theology is characterised by a theocentric thrust towards the transcendent, which introduces an element of gratuity into Medieval Theology
  • All created things have to be seen in reference to God - created things as false Gods will either enslave or bore us
  • Only when we relate to God can we relate to created things - you can only have the benefits of a relationship when you are not targeting said benefits
  • Medieval Theology operates with a richer notion of human understanding: not just in terms of discursive reasoning or ratio but also in term of intellectus
  • Human rationalitry is always fiduciary - it always operates with certain assumptions or presuppositions
  • You cannot prove anything with logic without assuming some things in good faith such as the principle of noncontradiction
  • Medieval Theology made a distinction between intellect and reason
  • Medieval Theology has a richer understanding of ways of reading the Scriptures: literal, allegorical, moral and anagogical (things in the end) 
1 of 16

St. Augustine - Basics

  • Philosophy is a praeparatio evangelicae
  • He applies the idea of Plato's forms to the Christian Word
  • God bestows his grace upon some and not others, and we cannot give any reason for it
  • Think of God in terms of love - it if is true love, it is freely given

Freedom and Morality

  • Freedom is in terms of committing oneself to something that you really find worthwhile

Salvation through Christ

  • Christ is the sacrament of our salvation

Theology of the Trinity

  • The way God reveals himself in the history of salvation discloses somewhat what God is like in himself
  • The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque) - by way of Love
  • The soul is an image of the Trinity: knowing and loving God
2 of 16

St Augustine - Theory of Knowledge and Creation/Ti

Theory of Knowledge

  • Error arises in man's judgements only when appearance is taken as reality
  • The truth of mathematical judgements (2+2=4) is immune from doubt
  • Cognitions of eternal truths and standards are acts beyond the natural capacity of man's intellect since this faculty is mutable and temporal
    • an illumination from a source that is itself eternal, necessary, and unchanging
      • namely, God

Creation from Nothing

  • This opposed the Neoplatonic notion of a world emanting from God through necessity
  • This also rejects the Greek view of world formation, which is based upon the model of an artist making a finished product from materials at hand

Time as Extension

  • The dependence of creation on God is stressed in his treatment of time
  • The past is what was and is not; the future is what will be and is not; and the present is indivisible and extensionless
3 of 16

St. Augustine - Eternal Soul and the Philosophy of

Eternal Soul

  • Augustine's view of the soul is throughly Platonic
  • Although the soul is something that came to be, it cannot cease to be
    • The soul is what it is because it sharws in principal, life, which does not admit of a contrary.

Philosophy of History

  • In The City of God, he moves from the Christian thinking about the historical significance of the Roman Empire
  • Rome differs from the Church both as a reality and as an ideal
    • as a reality, Rome is one empire among others, and the fate of the Church need not be bound with it
    • As an ideal, Rome is the earthly city opposed to the ideal of the heavenly city
  • The character of a society is determined by the choices of the individuals who make it up
  • If the choice is of self-love rather than love of God, then one has the earthly city; if the love is fo God rather than self, then one has the heavenly city
4 of 16

Theology of the Trinity

Rahner

  • the economic trinity is the same as the immanent trinity
    • the way in which different parts of the trinity engage throughout history reveals something about the way in which God is within himself

Psychological analogy

  • there is an analogy drawn between our own understanding of the Trinity and the way the human mind operates
    • the Son springs from the mind of God - this is not a conscious action as such
    • The conscious intellectual form of God is the Holy Spirit
  • We imitate God by knowing and loving God
  • Augustine draws an analogy between lover, beloved, and loved
    • they are all the same thing but we interact with them in slightly different ways and give them different names

Appropriation

  • "God is Good" refers to all 3 parts but only the Son can be called the Word
5 of 16

John Scotus Eriugena

  • argued that temporal categories do not apply to God so he cannot condemn some to hell

The divisions of nature

  • that which creates and is not created
    • God as the origin of all things
  • that which is created and creates
    • Platonic forms as the causes of all things
  • that which is created and does not create
    • the world as we know it
    • angels - humans - animals - plants - sheer matter
  • that which is not created and does not create
    • god as the end of all things
  • everything that is created is utterly dependant upon God so we cannot think of the world in separation from God
  • God is such a mystery that he cannot understand himself and only through creating the world, as a reflection of himself, can he begin to understand
6 of 16

Anselm

  • Theology is faith seeking understanding
  • God is that which nothing greater can be thought
  • As all of humanity is subject to sin, humankind could not redeem itself but rather needs God
  • God is unchangeable so salvation is pro nobis (it changes us, not God)
  • God out of mercy bestows His Son so as to restore the relationship between God and humanity
  • Justice requires that evil does not previl and is being penalized
  • Christ, through his obedience and love, renders "punishment" unnecessary
  • For Anselm, satisfaction (which should be understood in terms of penance) rules out punishment
7 of 16

Peter Abelard

  • regarding ethics, only the intention matter; our actual deeds are morally neutral
  • he comments on Romans
    • he thinks that it is strange that a God would be pleased to have innocent blood especially that of His son
  • Regarding John 15:13
    • our reconciliation with Christ is thaat through his unique grace and the assumed nature, he bound humanity closer to God
  • Harmatiology = sin/flaw
8 of 16

Bernard of Clairvaux

Sermons on the Song of Songs

  • There are 4 degrees of love:
    • we love ourselves for our sakes (natural self-love)
    • we love God for our own sakes (for our benefit)
    • we love God for God's sake (gratuitous and freely given)
    • we love ourselves for God's sake (utter self-lessness)
  • we need to live and love for God's sake so that we do not lead lives of dissatisfaction

Destruction of Sin

  • Salvation is a mystery beyond comprehension
  • "We cannot probe the divine will but we can experience the effects"
  • God didn't demand the blood of his son, rather, he accepted it when it was offered
  • criticises Abelard for "attributing the whole of salvation to our commitment...not in the power of the corss, or of His blood, but through our own improvement of life."
9 of 16

Hugo of St. Victor

  • He rejects the notion of knowledge for its own sake
    • knowledge has to serve a purpose of trying to get someone on the road to God and flourishing human life
  • Talks about the sacraments
    • baptism = sacrament
    • cleansing water = similitude
    • Christ = the institution
    • Spiritual cleansing through Christ = sanctification
  • Faith is somewhere between opinion and certain knowledge. Opinion is tinted by doubt. Certain knowledge can be verified.
  • Triangular understanding of love
    • our love for our neighbour is indirect - it is only via God
    • this allows us to love our enemies
    • We should love ourselves because God loves us
      • The good of your soul is God so if you turn your backs on the good of your soul, then you love the other more than you love God
10 of 16

Richard of St. Victor

  • proposes a social model of the Trinity
  • God is love and love entails a movement towards each other
  • Love between 2 people can be enclosed and self-destructive so a 3rd element is needed
  • The Father = love freely given
  • The Son = love freely given and received
  • The Holy Spirit = love freely received
  • When the Holy Spirit interacts with the world, this is an extension of the bestowal of love in the Trinity itself
  • Reason and nature --- creation has order so it only makes sense that God, a necessary being, has order too
  • The Mode of Reasoning --- We only see God in His absence in nature
    • when we look at creation, we can infer things about the nature of God
  • Cause and Effect --- it is necessary for every being to follow its origin
    • a ray of the sun proceeds from the sun and draws its origins from the sun, and yet the ray is coeval with the sun
      • This can be applied to the Son -- Begotten not made
  • 4 Persons in Divine Nature --- There cannot be 4 parts as the perfection of charity is satisfied in 3
11 of 16

Peter Lombard

  • distinguished between things and signs
  • Augustine had argued that God should be enjoyed and other things should be used
    • Peter erases the ambiguity by saying that humans are to be used
  • The humanity of Christ is there to be used in order to come to the enjoyment of God
    • Through the humanity of Christ we can move towards divinity

The Trinity

  • He believed that we are in the image of the Trinity because our three mental faculties (the mind, intellect, and will) mirror the three divine persons
  • When he talks of the image of God, he is talking about what the meaning of life is for humans

Eternal processions and historical missions

  • Peter accepts that the historical missions reveal the eternal generation of the Word
  • Argues that the Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and Son by which they love themselves and us, but also the love which we love God
12 of 16

Thomas Aquinas Background

  • his theology is a synthesis of Christian and Greek thought -- Neo-Platonic and Aristotle
  • wanted to salvage Aristotle for Christians so wrote commentaries on him
  • Aristotle didn't believe in the individual immortality of the soul
13 of 16

Aquinas - Sacra Doctrina

  • he asks whether we need theology if we have philosophy and natural sciences
  • God is the goal of human life and philosophy doesn't suffice for salvation
  • everything has a telos and an inclination to perfect itself -- this telos is god
  • there are 2 kinds of sciences: core foundations and those which borrow from others
    • theology borrows from articles of faith
  • is theology wisdom?
    • difference between the gift from the holy spirit and that attained from knowledge
  • knowing that something is bad instinctively
  • 4 senses of Scripture
    • literal
    • allegorical
    • anagogical
    • moral
  • equivocation --> words acquire an entirely different meaning
    • strawberry jam vs traffic jam
    • when we apply words like goodness and justice to God, we cannot do this as we will not know what we are talking about
  • univocal --> terms retain the same meaning this lowers God to human standards
14 of 16

Aquinas - Theology of the Trinity

  • Father - Son = generation
  • Father + Son - Holy Spirit = procession
  • The Holy Spirit procession is a spiration which can be active or passive
    • active from the filoque
    • passive to the filoque
  • the persons are identical to the relations
  • can only define the person from their affiliation to one another
  • before God created the world, He already had the world in His mind
    • creation is an extension of the generation of the Word by the Father
  • when Christians receive sacraments, they experience the extension of the Gift
15 of 16

Aquinas - Charity

  • Peter Lombard argued that charity is the same as the Holy Spirit
    • Aquinas says that this takes away the integrity of the human
  • we can close the master-slave gap by the Incarnation
    • God became one of us
  • God is the middle man by which one can engage with and love another created thing without engaging in idolatry
  • Christian love should be agape but this causes the object of your love to disappear; they become unimportant
  • we have our own needs so we are going to love those closer to us more so that there is a combination of agape and eros.
16 of 16

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all The Making of Modern Christianity resources »